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Joe Swenson

Setting the neck with ribs still on the mould?

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I was researching Viola rib height's when I cam across this thread and a post which suggested that necks may have bee set and then the ribs leveled to make the flat surface for the back plate to be then glued in place.

 

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/327888-ribs-height/?p=576464

 

It seemed to me the best time to do this was before removing the ribs from the mould.  That way you have the most support for the fragile rib structure so it can safely be planed and sanded to fit the back plate.

 

This seems just so much easier than trying to get that perfect right angle button fit after the back and top plates have already been attached to the ribs.  You can still easily set the neck angle and fingerboard projection properly with a dry-fit top plate with the neck slot cut.

 

I put my viola ribs back on the mould just now ( a lot easier than when I initially took off the ribs) since I may want to try this method.  I can spot glue the end blocks back in place to perform this operation.  But if I just intend to sand down the rib heights the extra support of the mould is all I need.  No gluing required.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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I agree on the best time for neck fitting is before removing the ribs from the mold. That is how I was shown how to build so there is at least one other maker building this way.

In the order I use, the top is glued on the garland. Then the neck mortice is cut and neck is fitted

and glued. The presence of the top makes the traditional angle and overstand checks doable. The neck

heel, which is heavy at this point, is planed and sanded flush to the top block. Then the four piece collapsible style mold is removed. Back goes on and voila! I mean violin!

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I agree on the best time for neck fitting is before removing the ribs from the mold. That is how I was shown how to build so there is at least one other maker building this way.

In the order I use, the top is glued on the garland. Then the neck mortice is cut and neck is fitted

and glued. The presence of the top makes the traditional angle and overstand checks doable. The neck

heel, which is heavy at this point, is planed and sanded flush to the top block. Then the four piece collapsible style mold is removed. Back goes on and voila! I mean violin!

 

"Viola" as well..  :)

 

I would likely cut the slot in the top and the neck block mortise with the top attached using the locating pins and clamps so I can get the angle correct for proper projection of the fingerboard to the bridge. 

Keeping the neck root rough and flat prior to shaping (like shown in the link from the previous posting) it would be optimal for setting and clamping the neck into the mortise using the clamping hole by neck block.  It never seemed satisfactory to glue the neck into the mortise and only just clamp the button. I used a strap around the neck root and violin body to put pressure on the neck but was always afraid of doing damage to the ribs.

After gluing the neck I would level the neck root with the ribs while its still on the form for support.

My forms need to be removed in one piece so I need to wait to glue the back and top onto the ribs now with the neck attached. 

So last step is remove the ribs + neck from the mould and glue on the back and top.

 

I belive you are talking about this technique: http://www.rubioviolins.com/

 

Click on the link   "Fitting the neck to the violin prior to closing the box"     on the left.

 

Thanks for the link.  I knew I couldn't be the first person to have this idea. The more I think about it the more sense it makes to me.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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Joe,

 

I tried this with Violin #1. Back then I didn't even come up with a better way. I rember the angle went wrong and I had to open it and fix. Once you have set the neck into only rib garland it is very sensitive to angle change when you glue the plates. If you do it like that it might be better to glue the top first. I have seen pictures and explenations on how the Cremonese necks where nailed to the rib garland at a straight fixed angle but that's a different story.

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My preferred method is to glue the top on the ribs, cut the neck mortice and glue in the neck. Plane the neck root flush with the bottom of the block, level the ribs gluing surface and glue the back on. I feel this is far easier than dealing with compound angles if you were to fit the neck to a closed body.

 

The other positive thing is you can solidly clamp  the neck and block together for gluing with a single, simple C clamp.

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Joe,

 

I tried this with Violin #1. Back then I didn't even come up with a better way. I rember the angle went wrong and I had to open it and fix. Once you have set the neck into only rib garland it is very sensitive to angle change when you glue the plates. If you do it like that it might be better to glue the top first. I have seen pictures and explenations on how the Cremonese necks where nailed to the rib garland at a straight fixed angle but that's a different story.

  

I didn't consider attaching either the top or back would deform the rib structure enough to change the neck angle. Thanks for pointing that out.

My preferred method is to glue the top on the ribs, cut the neck mortice and glue in the neck. Plane the neck root flush with the bottom of the block, level the ribs gluing surface and glue the back on. I feel this is far easier than dealing with compound angles if you were to fit the neck to a closed body.

 

The other positive thing is you can solidly clamp  the neck and block together for gluing with a single, simple C clamp.

You're right. The ribs don't need to be still on the mould to get good clamping on the neck joint.

So do you see any change in the neck angle after gluing on the back?

Joe

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My preferred method is to glue the top on the ribs, cut the neck mortice and glue in the neck. Plane the neck root flush with the bottom of the block, level the ribs gluing surface and glue the back on. I feel this is far easier than dealing with compound angles if you were to fit the neck to a closed body.

 

The other positive thing is you can solidly clamp  the neck and block together for gluing with a single, simple C clamp.

 

Hi Bill,

 

I used your method to set the neck with the top glued on the ribs and it worked great!  So easy to cut the mortise.  So much easier than with the back plate attached and the button is in the way.  The ribs are actually quite rigid and support the neck angle very well with it clamped in the mortise.  It made it very easy to level the heel with the ribs and make a perfect fit with the button.  

 

post-43707-0-14404600-1381466848_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-37630300-1381466688_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-49095600-1381466689_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-74736000-1381466690_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-73315800-1381466691_thumb.jpg

 

Checking the neck projection at the bridge with a thick fingerboard in place looks great at 34 mm. This will reduce b a couple mm when the fingerboard is at the proper thickness.  Strobel's "Useful Measurements..." book quotes the proper projection height to be 32 mm.

 

post-43707-0-31090000-1381467101_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-50206700-1381467102_thumb.jpg

 

Not much left to do now but coat inside with Vernice Bianca put inthe label and get the sound post ends measured and cut ( a little long) before closing.

 

Also pondering reinforcing the neck to stabilize the angle with a poplar dowel.  Probably wait and string it up first with the fingerboard just tacked on to see how much sag I get as is with full string tension.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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Hi Joseph,

I'm sorry I didn't reply to your earlier post; I've been a sporadic attendee on Maestronet for the past few months.

 

I'm happy that it worked out well for you. I can't think of a good reason to do this operation any other way. I usually set my neck so the crown at the end of the fingerboard measures 13/16" to 7/8 " above the belly surface. I haven't found that this changes in any way when gluing on the back, except if the top block isn't dead flat and square to the ribs. I do this very early on in the rib making stages.

 

Make sure you trim and fit the bridge feet to proper thickness before going to far with projection measurements. I also completely finish the fingerboard to the final dimensions and temporarily glue it to the neck before making the neck mortice.

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I don't know if it was mentioned, but it is a lot easier clamping the neck with this method.   fred

 

Yes! That was my original reason for this post.  It just made sense to me anyway.  And it never made sense that the only clamping possible for te neck in the "traditional" method was to the button.  The mortise is the most important joint.  Without a solid tight glue joint there it could put all the stress on the button glue joint.  

 

I'm not sure who decided the proper sequence was to complete the box before attaching the neck.  Sacconi described the process Stradivari followed was to attach the back first to the ribs, then nail on the neck, and finally attach the belly.   That was my original thought but the thoughts of carving the mortise, unfettered by a button seemed much more attractive.  I did get a nice fit on the button now by leveling the heel to that of the bottom edge of the ribs and neck block.

 

Good stuff!

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Hi Joseph,

I'm sorry I didn't reply to your earlier post; I've been a sporadic attendee on Maestronet for the past few months.

 

I'm happy that it worked out well for you. I can't think of a good reason to do this operation any other way. I usually set my neck so the crown at the end of the fingerboard measures 13/16" to 7/8 " above the belly surface. I haven't found that this changes in any way when gluing on the back, except if the top block isn't dead flat and square to the ribs. I do this very early on in the rib making stages.

 

Make sure you trim and fit the bridge feet to proper thickness before going to far with projection measurements. I also completely finish the fingerboard to the final dimensions and temporarily glue it to the neck before making the neck mortice.

 

No worries, this is a pretty old thread but I wanted to put in the new information.  

 

Yes, I did the fingerboard as you mentioned on my first violin but this time without the fingerboard in place it was much easier to examine the fit in the mortise without the fingerboard in place.  Clamping it in place to measure the projection works perfectly well.  And as I remove ~1.5 mm of material to the final thickness I will monitor projection height.  

 

Not sure how fitting the bridge necessary before setting the projection height. :) Strobel's "Useful Measurements... " book says the projection height should be 32 mm for a large viola (16 1/2 ") at the bride position.  I was going for 1 mm higher when finished to allow for neck "sag".  

 

I ended up with a slight concavity to the rib structure after having glued on the top.  Setting the ribs on a flat surface or the back plate which is still pretty flat, there is about a 1 mm gap in the center bout off the flat surface.  

 

post-43707-0-03004600-1381561914_thumb.jpg

 

This was due to my uneven sanding down the overall rib height.  It was much easier to do when still on the form.  But I think based upon the alignment with the back plate.  The ribs did pull in slightly at the end blocks,  But I was careful to make sure the neck block and heel is flat and parallel to the ribs so the back will glue on securely at the neck and button. 

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Taking back that last statement.

 

But I think based upon the alignment with the back plate.  The ribs did pull in slightly at the end blocks,  But I was careful to make sure the neck block and heel is flat and parallel to the ribs so the back will glue on securely at the neck and button. 

 

Ribs didn't pull in.. if anything the bottom edge at the neck block is pushed out ever so slightly.  The border to edge of back plate looks good all around.  

 

Made a sound post last night.  Clamped the body together to get the length.  Cut the ends by standing the post on the back plate and top plate at the starting point and shave off bits til it stands perfectly upright on its own.  Easy to get the angles right with body open.  

 

Now to ready to coat with VB and put on my label and close it up.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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It's not necessary to trim the bridge feet if you are just measuring fingerboard elevation above the belly. I like to fit the feet and mark the bridge with a pencil so I can visually see where the strings will finally be sitting , more or less.

 

I think you will find the soundpost length required will have changed after you glue the back on.

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I think you will find the soundpost length required will have changed after you glue the back on.

 

Yes I agree.  And it will probably change after I coat with VB too.  I'm expecting it to be too short once I coat and glue the box together.  I had an old, bad fitting soundpost from my 16" viola which just happened to fit my 16 3/4" after trimming the ends.  I find it useful to do the sound post balancing act on the back and top so as to make a sound post "template" I can use to match the ends on whatever final post I have to cut.. Its quite time consuming and dangerous for f-hole integrity if I have to start from scratch after the box is assembled.  Nice to have a good starting point to minimize insertions.

 

 

Been enjoying this thread. :)

Thanks!!! B)

 

:D Cool!

 

Since Stradivari had to attach the neck before closing the box, i'm thinking that that when they started cutting a mortise in the neck block and gluing in the neck rather than using nails, makers would have continued the same assembly order.  Since that is what they were used to doing.  Almost seems like closing the box first, is more of a "modern" twist to violin making.

 

Also puzzling is Sacconi suggesting the purfling and edge fluting was done after the box was assembled.  That just sounds odd to me and I don't really get how he came to that conclusion.  At least as far as the purfling goes.  He found some apparently unfinished instruments where the box was assembled and fluting was absent.  Its hard to imagine carefully putting in purfling in a finished soundbox as opposed to doing it on a flat unfinished plate on the workbench.  That conclusion just seems odd to me and incorrect.

 

I can see that putting in the fluting or at least fine tuning the fluting last might be a final "tuning" operation allowing the maker to adjust the top and back's response after everything is assembled.  The idea of using a gouge on a raised surface like that scares me, And approaching the neck I would hope the fluting were finished   But I certainly can see using a scraper.

 

:rolleyes:

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Since Stradivari had to attach the neck before closing the box, i'm thinking that that when they started cutting a mortise in the neck block and gluing in the neck rather than using nails, makers would have continued the same assembly order.  Since that is what they were used to doing.  Almost seems like closing the box first, is more of a "modern" twist to violin making.

 

Also puzzling is Sacconi suggesting the purfling and edge fluting was done after the box was assembled.  That just sounds odd to me and I don't really get how he came to that conclusion.  At least as far as the purfling goes.  He found some apparently unfinished instruments where the box was assembled and fluting was absent.  Its hard to imagine carefully putting in purfling in a finished soundbox as opposed to doing it on a flat unfinished plate on the workbench.  That conclusion just seems odd to me and incorrect.

 

To me it seems obvious that setting the neck on the closed box started with the practice of re-necking older instruments. Not much choice there. Then it became standard on new work, and some makers prefer that method.

 

Nothing puzzling about finishing the overhang and purfling after closing. I figured that out on my own long before I ever heard of Sacconi. Maybe after you get a little more experience you'll see why.

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You might find reading the articles that Roger Hargrave has written on the subject of Cremonese making techniques to be helpful.

 

The Working Methods of Guarneri del Gesù and their Influence upon his stylistic Development by Roger Hargrave

 

As for why the conclusion that the purfling came after the plates were attached to the ribframe, you only need to try using pins to attach your plates, like Stradivari did.

 

Lady-Blunt-Stradivarius-Violin-of-1721-1

 

The Lady Blunt Stradivarius 1721

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To me it seems obvious that setting the neck on the closed box started with the practice of re-necking older instruments. Not much choice there. Then it became standard on new work, and some makers prefer that method.

 

Nothing puzzling about finishing the overhang and purfling after closing. I figured that out on my own long before I ever heard of Sacconi. Maybe after you get a little more experience you'll see why.

 

Yep... Makes sense what you say.  I have yet to use the traditional method to do the purfling.  I use a Dremel router tool, so its not hard to see my lack of understanding here.  I look forward to the real deal at some point on a real instrument.  I need a lot more practice first with the purfling tool.

 

 

You might find reading the articles that Roger Hargrave has written on the subject of Cremonese making techniques to be helpful.

 

The Working Methods of Guarneri del Gesù and their Influence upon his stylistic Development by Roger Hargrave

 

As for why the conclusion that the purfling came after the plates were attached to the ribframe, you only need to try using pins to attach your plates, like Stradivari did.

 

<image>

 

The Lady Blunt Stradivarius 1721

 

Thanks,

 

I have looked at those articles.  But have not thoroughly read them yet.  I will definitely read them.

 

Yeah, the purfling order is sure pretty obvious when its staring you right in the face.  :blink:  Thanks for the education.  :D

 

Cheers,

Joe

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It's not necessary to trim the bridge feet if you are just measuring fingerboard elevation above the belly. I like to fit the feet and mark the bridge with a pencil so I can visually see where the strings will finally be sitting , more or less.

 

I think you will find the soundpost length required will have changed after you glue the back on.

 

Hi Bill,

 

Thought I would update you that the soundpost went into the closed soundbox and fit like a glove, without a problem.  Slipped into place with just enough tension.. So I guess I got lucky  :rolleyes:

 

Joe

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No luck involved, just exact planning and execution! Good job!

Thanks Bill,

 

:D

 

I "finished" my #2 16 3/4" Viola tonight.  Yay!  Put on some Dominants.  Strings were barely long enough.  Played it in the white...

 

I only have a 125 mm 16" viola tailpiece so I put on 4 fine tuners so the stings would reach the pegbox.  

 

post-43707-0-39203500-1382941174_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-86092700-1382941175_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-69792100-1382941176_thumb.jpg

 

It has quite a beefy sound.  Real gutsy C.  Nice penetrating midrange. High end not too nasal.  Don't have a lot of experience with viola sound so my vocabulary is a bit limited here.  Haven't tweaked the soundpost position.   Just wanting to hear what I have.  Wasn't able to play it very much since it was late and wife went to bed.

 

Still have some edge work to finish around the points and scroll and neck to clean up before I start varnishing...  Then back onto finishing my #3, a Violin of the same Guarneri arching but with sort of a "long":Strad outline.

 

Later,

Joe

 

P.S.  Just checked the soundpost.. It was even with the outside of the treble bridge foot so the A string was sounding a bit thin and there was an obvious tonal transition going from the G string to the D string.  I moved it a couple mm closer to the center line and now a much better sounding A string now.  Much more balanced across all the strings.  Have to check to see how loose the post is with no string tension.  

 

I need to loosen the strings to check but, I might need a longer post since I initially slid the post into position too far toward the outside edge before finishing the setup.  That is where it seemed to fit the best.

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